Selling Your Coins - Appraising Your Coin Collection

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Copyright 2015 by Kevin Flynn, All Rights Reserved

If you sell your coins to a dealer, you may expect the dealer to pay 15 to 20 percent less that the value of the coins. Most dealers have overhead costs such as the cost of a table at a show, advertising, some have a store, travel, and so on.

You always have the option to sell them yourself, so long as you understand that you need to take the time to research the coin to determine what it is, including United States coin or foreign, date and mint mark, grade, metal content, and potential value. In addition, there are other factors that can make your coins valuable, such as being a rare die variety, which will be discussed in more detail later. The majority of collections that I have appraised did not have any rare coins or die varieties that were worth a significant premium, but a few did. Do you want to take a chance in more money?

Several options for where and how to sell coins are covered in the next few sections from selling them on Craigslist, eBay, numismatic papers, local auctions, national auctions, coin or precious metal stores, or at a coin show to name some of the primary methods.

How ever you sell them, you need to do your research on their values first. In Pennsylvania, there are many store fronts that advertise "We Buy Gold" and "Cash For Gold." Some of them will offer to purchase your silver or gold for 50% off their full price.

A friend of mine sold his gold watch and received $500 from a store in a local mall I had some 90% silver coins to sell so I went to the same individual. At the time, the melt value of these coins was $12 per coin. The individual offered me $6 per coin, which he would be making 100% profit. I asked him why the low value, he responded that he had to make a profit. Several other dealers I went to offered me from $7 to $9 per coin. I took the same coin and went to a coin dealer I knew and received $11.50. It is important to show around to find the best price. Some people are happy to receive cash for their coins or precious metals, but do you think they would be happy if they knew they could have received twice as much?

It is also a good idea to first call by phone, but then to go meet the dealer. I know several dealers that would offer a better price to individuals they knew and have established a relationship with.

A Twenty Dollar Gold coin has a legal tender of $20, but the bullion value of the gold is currently worth around $1,250 an ounce. If you went into a bank and handed them a Twenty Dollar Gold coin, they are required to give you in exchange the legal tender value of the money. Most bank tellers would probably suggest that you take you gold coin to a coin dealer to obtain more money.

A friend’s mother inherited her uncle’s rare coin collection and other rarities. Some of the coins were purchased by a dealer 20 to 30 years ago, whose name was on the holder the coins were in. The mother took some of the gold coins to the dealer and offered them for sale. The dealer offered to pay the same value that he sold the coins for, much less than their current value. To put into perspective, in 1994, gold was worth approximately $300 per ounce. Today it is worth $1,250 an ounce. These coins were sold at one-quarter of their bullion value. Luckily, the mother only sold a few gold coins to him and learned her lesson. Next time she will do a little more research before selling.

Obviously the more knowledgeable you are on grading coins, knowing what are the valuable date and mint marks, die varieties, and other factors that go into establishing a premium for a coin, they more you will be able to realize for your coins.

You can establish a basic understanding of these factors and still optimize your potential. In knowing what the key dates or die varieties for a series are helps you focus on those coins with the greatest potential. For example, on the Mercury dimes, they key dates are the 1916-D, 1921, and 1921-D. The key die variety is the 1942/1 and 1942/1-D overdates. The key dates and die varieties for each series is listed in the back of this book.

Previous: Staying with your Collection
Next: Where to Sell Your Coins
Copyright 2015 by Kevin Flynn, All Rights Reserved

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